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Complexity is one of big issues which may decrease usability of an engineering system. It was reported that mobile phone users sometimes feel anxiety because of the complexity. The purpose of our work is to propose a self-learning method which can support users to have an appropriate mental model of a complex system, e.g., a mobile phone in this study. Explanation about functions of a target system is made using a means-end layered model. A user can learn from functions with the most abstract representation, and move on more concrete and detailed representation. After the first step, he or she moves to technical explanations of actual troubles based on the representations used in the first step. In the third step, the contents show procedures which a user should take in a specific trouble case. It is expected that the learner will have ability of effective use and of trouble avoiding. The efficacy of the proposed method was shown through a cognitive experiment, where several university students and elderly people participated as the learners.
Date of Conference: March 30 2011-April 1 2011